Local MP welcomes Nick Clegg's decision for independent audits of MPs expenses

July 8, 2008 4:21 PM
Mark and Nick

Mark is supporting Nick Clegg's move to commit the Liberal Democrats to independent spot checks of MPs expenses

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter was one of 141 MPs who voted to change the rules regarding MP's expenses - including voting for the use of tougher independent audit of MP's expenses and a more accountable system.

The vote last week (3rd July) was defeated by a coalition of Labour, Conservative and Independent MPs, by just 28 votes. The proposed new rules would have seen an external audit of a quarter of MPs each year, put audit for MPs on the same basis as for other public bodies, and brought MPs in line with other businesses by eliminating their ability to claim expenses without receipts.

After these proposals were defeated Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg MP, committed his party to unilaterally introduce the recommendations of the Members Estimates Committee for independent spot checks of MPs expenses. Despite Labour and Conservative MPs defeating the Members Estimates Committee's recommendations on Thursday, the Liberal Democrats will go ahead with the plans to further improve accountability by:

• Working with the Institute of Chartered Accountants to draw up detailed proposals to implement spot checks of expenses for Liberal Democrat MPs.

• Establishing an independently chaired Audit Board for the Party to oversee issues of probity and integrity.

• Publishing a detailed breakdown of expenses of all Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet members.

Mr Hunter welcomed the announcement: "I am very pleased that the leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg has introduced these measures despite them being rejected by Parliament.

"Frankly, I'm appalled that the House of Commons hasn't seized this chance to put its own house in order. The public will not easily forgive the Labour and Conservative MPs who have voted to block reform and retain the status quo in this shameful display of self interest. We are talking about public money here and the public have a right to know that it is being spent appropriately - without full independent scrutiny this just cannot be guaranteed.

"We need to act now to restore trust in out political system and that's why I'm pleased that Nick Clegg has given a clear lead on this issue. MPs should have nothing to fear from open and independent scrutiny."

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